Best Condenser Microphone For Studio Recording

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Best Condenser Microphone

Don’t you look forward to delivering soothing audio experience to your audience? Then Condenser Microphone can be great add-ons. Shooting videos with your budget smartphone, then gradually upgrading to a microphone, we’ve all been there. It’s time to take your video making game to a new level with the Best Condenser Microphones out there in the market.

Why Condenser Microphone is Your Way to Go

A Condenser Microphone is valued for its ability to pick up sounds with great detail and accuracy. Some might argue that a dynamic microphone is a better option, but the true scenario is they all have their specific field of peak performance and as for videos, condenser microphones are big time game changers. Let’s do a side by side comparison.

Best Condenser Microphone 

Condenser Microphone VS Dynamic Microphone vs Lavalier

If we zoom into the structure, a dynamic mic has three main parts – A Diaphragm, A Voice Coil and Magnet. What happens here is that when the sound waves hit the diaphragm, it generates a vibration through the voice coil. As an outcome of this movement within the magnetic field, the audio signal converts into electrical signal.

Talking of condenser microphones – the three main components here are a diaphragm (movable), a backplate (Fixed) and a diaphragm case that holds the entire thing. As the sound waves hit the diaphragm, it moves relative to a backplate that is fixed, and this thing then transform the audio signal into electrical signal.

Features:

Dynamic microphones reject any background noise at an extreme level. if you’re broadcasting from a radio station where you need to stay extra careful about any unnecessary noise interruptions, a dynamic microphone is your tech to jump.

But if you’re in a controlled environment like your studio, a place where you need not worry about loud background noises, you’re on the right track with condenser microphones. They provide a natural effect on your recorded voice, also keeping in mind balanced noise rejection and accuracy.

Now, one place where lavalier mics come in handy, in videos where you need to record voice far from the camera. Here a condenser microphone will end up capturing a lot of background noises and lower audio quality (which makes sense). We’ll say it’s useful to have a lavalier in your gear, but it definitely doesn’t match the capability to replace a condenser microphone.

Our Picks

Now that you have a solid base in knowledge, let us walk you through our top five picks. Note most of the condenser microphones require a 48V Phantom power supply. Starting with:

5. Audio-Technica AT2020 Condenser Microphone

When it comes to entry level branded condenser microphones, Audio – Technica AT2020 has a big reputation. It delivers pretty good sound quality at an affordable price. Besides its vocal performance, it handles instrumental details really well.

What’s in the Box:

DeWith the Mic, you get a microphone mount and a 5-inch to 3-inch stand adapter. What you do not get is a microphone cable that you have to purchase separately.sign and Outlook:

Audio Technica AT2020 has a full metal body. It does not feel cheap quality in anyway. Of course, you’re spending a around a hundred dollars people deserve this much. The stand adapter us also made of metal and stable enough. There’s only one side to speak, so you’ll be getting confused about the front and back part (it’s labeled). The design features cardioid polar patterns that gives more sensitivity to the sound source up front, rejecting side noises.

Specifications:

Polar PatternUnidirectional
Connector TypeXLR Connector
Connectivity TechnologyWired
Audio Sensitivity37 dB
MaterialMetal
Signal-to-Noise Ratio74 dB
Item Weight0.6 Kilograms
Noise Level20 dB

Audio Quality:

For a price point at thing range, Audio Technica AT2020’s performance is quite remarkable. The sound is vocal and natural both on vocals and on instruments. We won’t say its noise cancelling capability is the best that we have seen, but if you’re recording from a close enough distance, it does the job. To sum up, Audio Technica AT2020 won’t blow your mind, but it should get your job done delicately in whatever you’re recording.

ProsCons
Best Value considering affordabilityNoise level is slightly higher than expected
Clearly defined sound quality 
Decent Transient Response 
Good for Acoustic Music 

Pricing and Availability:

Audio-Technica AT2020 is priced at dollar $99 on Amazon. Check it out using the link here: https://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-AT2020-Cardioid-Condenser-Microphone/dp/B0006H92QK/ref=zg_bs_11974661_4?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=RSHRDT3N0Z3GACB9HB3H

Audio Technica AT2020

4. TONOR Q9 USB Condenser Microphone

Pandemic has shifted us to video conferences and virtual meetings, online classes. When you’re deeply invested in something and the microphone causes garbage sound, the feeling is a disaster. If your only purpose is to attend some classes and you don’t want to spend for something fancy, The TONOR Q9 USB microphone kit is exactly what you need.

What’s in the Box:

In the kit, you get a 5-6 feet USB Cable, a foam windscreen, a pop filter, a shock mount (without adapter) and a boom arm.

 

Design and Outlook:

The microphone has a all-metal body but while holding in hand don’t expect it to be anything overwhelming. Like many other USB microphones, the USB port is at the bottom. The controls are really simple on this one – the gain rocker only. They could have added a mute button but that is missing.

Specifications:

Polar Pattern: Unidirectional

Audio Sensitivity45 dB
  

Setup: Driver-free, plug and play

Bit rate: 16 bits

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

Audio Quality:

You will be getting a Yeti like sound signature vibe at first but will soon be noticing the differences. The tone is slightly warm. It is not fascinating, but like we mentioned before: it does the job only if you require specific purposes.

ProsCons
Very AffordableMicrophone quality not good enough for streaming
No Software Setup Required 
Usable entire kit in one deal 
Great value for online classes, meetings 

Pricing and Availability:

As of writing this article, TONOR USB microphone is at a discounted price of dollar $59.99 on Amazon. Check it out using the link here: https://www.amazon.com/TONOR-Microphone-Condenser-Recording-Podcasting/dp/B07JMYG6LF/ref=zg_bs_11974661_3?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=X62DT685YA5FD1F4DMV3

 3. Blue Yeti Nano

If you are a game streamer, then you may have heard about Blue Yeti’s condenser microphones. Yes, Blue has come up with Yeti Nano as a successor to its elder brothers. This USB mic delivers the same yeti sound but a lesser price tag. Little spoiler right up front: This is our favorite pick for USB mic.

What’s in the Box:

  1. The Microphone with a desktop stand already installed
  2. A Microphone stand adapter
  3. An USB Cable

Design and Outlook:

Unlike the Audio Technica AT2020 we talked about before, Blue Yeti Nano’s build quality feels cheap. In the front side, there’s a dial which is the volume control and Mute/Unmute feature. The USB port is set at the bottom beside a 3.5mm headphone jack. On the back, there is a pattern button to switch between Omni-directional and Cardioid.

Have an Overview on the Specifications:

Frequency Response Range: 20 Hz-20 KHz

Sample/Bitrate: 48 kHz/24-bit

Polar Patterns: Cardioid, omnidirectional

With the Mic: MicroUSB to USB cable, removable stand, boom arm adapter

Audio Quality:

We’ve tested the sound quality and didn’t find any distortion in vocals. They claimed Blue Yeti Nano to be of low latency and form our experience we didn’t find any delay. However, you’ll be needing a software called Blue Yeti Sherpa to control gain levels. This microphone can record at 24-bit/48KHz quality that’s higher than its ancestors.

ProsCons
Both Cardioid and Omni-directional polar patternsThe extra stress of setting up Blue Yeti Sherpa software
Headphone jack with low-latency monitoring 
Same yeti sound at a lesser price tag 
Gaming Gem 

 

Pricing and Availability:

Blue Yeti Nano is priced at dollar $99.99 on Amazon. Check it out using the link here: https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Premium-Recording-Streaming-Blackout-988-000400/dp/B07QLNYBG9/ref=zg_bs_11974661_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=X62DT685YA5FD1F4DMV3

2. Blue Snowball iCE USB Mic

For every person starting on YouTube at low budget, this is the one for them. We hardly met any YouTuber-Tech Enthusiast who hasn’t heard of Blue Snowball iCE. Blue has dominated the USB mic market for streamers in recent years. And to us, the Snowball iCE is their greatest success.

What’s in the Box:

  1. The Gorgeous Ball Shaped Microphone
  2. A Mobile Tripod

Design and Outlook:

My oh my, the microphone itself looks super-adorable. Just putting this mic in front of your videos add to its visual attraction. Blue has showed that they care about the build quality on this one; but still could’ve been better.

Specifications:

Frequency Response Range: 40 Hz-18 KHz

Sample/Bitrate: 44.1 kHz/16-bit

Polar Pattern: Cardioid

With the Mic: Mini-USB to USB cable, removable stand, boom arm adapter

 

Audio Quality:

Although, it has only one polar pattern – cardioid, it delivers some crisp audio quality. It sounds way good than whatever we get at this price range. With some post video processing, you can add more depth to the vocals that makes it even more impressive.

ProsCons
Crisp Audio QualitySingle Polar Pattern
No Software Setup Required 
Best for budget starters 

Pricing and Availability:

Blue Snowball iCE USB microphone is priced at dollar $49.99 on Amazon. Check it out using the link here: https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Snowball-Condenser-Microphone-Cardioid/dp/B014PYGTUQ/ref=zg_bs_11974661_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=X62DT685YA5FD1F4DMV3

  1. Sennheiser MKH 416

The History Behind

Don’t misjudge Sennheiser MKH 416 to be just another condenser mic made in recent times. It’s origin dates back to the 1970s. Its decent base response, dropping the noise to a minimal (to a level that it still sounds natural), all these added to its popularity. This microphone’s deep and resonant sound capture capability grabbed attention of the narrators of that time. As time went by, it got more and more exposure and from that time to this date, the voice you love hearing from many films are recorded using this microphone. This is how the Sennheiser MKH 416 became the industry standard and still holds its crown.

What’s in the Box

Before we dive into the unboxing, your eyes will get stuck on the product case Sennheiser made. The Premium touch is there right from the beginning.
In the box, besides the microphone itself, you get a clamp (to hold the mic) and a Windshield.

Design and Outlook

Sennheiser MKH 416 has a compact design with short interference tube. It has some noticeable weight and its matte black all-metal build doesn’t leave any scope to ignore its premium class. What they call to be the RF Condenser design, makes it highly immune to humidity.

Have a Look at the Specifications:

Dimensions: 19*250 mm

A Frequency Response Range of 40Hz – 20000Hz

Sensitivity in the field, no load (1 KHz): 25mv/Pa +-1dB

25 Ohms Normal Impedance and 800 ohms min. terminating impedance

Courtesy: Amazon

Equivalent Noise Level: 13 dB

Equivalent Noise Level weighted as per CCIR 468-3: 24 dB

Sound Pressure Level: to a maximum of 130 dB

Current Consumption: 2mA

Power Type Required: 48V Phantom Power

Sound Quality: The Big Deal

There’s only one word to describe this – Phenomenal. The sound is deep, in-detailed with good responsive base quality. Folks, when it comes to content consumption, we already have the film industry standard predefined in our brain. Sennheiser MKH 416 conquers that field and things of this level also create psychological reliability around it. That’s how it is ruling the tech market for the last five decades. Its side noise rejection capability allows you to be lazy at post-processing (there’s hardly any need for that). In a controlled workspace environment, you’ll never be pushing it to its noise-canceling edges.

It brings down the extra noise to a minimal yet so natural one. Thanks to its Super-Cardioid technology, a type of polar pattern that does an outstanding job at cutting outside noises. The microphone sounds its best when kept closer to the mouth. You can use the Windshield if you need. But from our observations, having it on the mic kind of dampens down the high frequencies so we prefer recording without it.

Additional Info:

As this is a condenser microphone, don’t expect to sit 3 feet away and still get the same audio level. Sennheiser MKH 416 also picks up instrumental sounds really well. You can be at your home and still record professional-quality songs like music studios. The Soothing and Warm tonal should be enough to be to hold the attention of the person behind the screen (Except the fact that you need good content too). If you have used a condenser mic before, we’re assuming you are familiar with the term – Self Noise. With Sennheiser MKH 416, you don’t have to bother about this anymore. The mic causes little to no self-noise at all; maintaining the quality of your audio.

Stability & Transportability

It comes in a full metal body with a matte black finish weighing around 175g. This solid gem is good at endurance and a marathon runner. Unless there’s a superb invention that will make you want to upgrade, you can chill out shooting videos with a Sennheiser MKH 416 in your kit bag for the coming five years and so on.
This shotgun mic is super flexible when it comes to regular use. You can literally set it up from any angle as long as the head is pointing towards your mouth. The two most popular options here are to do downsloping or upsloping. But feel free to experiment with the position that suits you the best.

Pricing and Availability

Sennheiser MKH 416 is priced at dollar $999

We recommend buying either from Sennheiser’s official website: Sennheiser MKH 416 – Short Shotgun Microphone
or through here on amazon:

Sennheiser MKH 416 an Overkill?!

Well, absolutely not. Considering the quality, it keeps offering over the years you will have no regret whatsoever purchasing it. Whether you’re doing voice over, recording a song at your place creating other amazing content, Sennheiser MKH 416 is the best investment in condenser microphones.

Good Content Accompanied with Amazing Tech Gear

Doesn’t matter how good you’re with your software skills, you can only edit your audio way up to a certain limit. While here our team gives utmost priority to creating good content, there’s no denying the fact that tech gear rich in quality, enhances the consumer’s experience of Your Content. If you are to invest in Excellence, the second-best thing is not an option.

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